Google's Matt Cutts Replies to -60 Penalty Thread at Google

Feb 25, 2008 • 7:32 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A Google Groups thread on the -60 penalty at Google (there are so many of these now, -6, -10, -250, etc) now has several responses from Matt Cutts of Google.

Matt replies specifically to the nature of the posters site and not specifically to the nature of what a minus sixty penalty is. But the lack of not addressing the -60 specifically, can these minus whatever be associated with Matt's response to this user?

Matt tells the user that his backlinks look "unusual" and asks if he has been collecting links in an unusual manner. Here is Matt's post:

ShyBoy, have you been collecting backlinks in any unusual ways? It looks like you may have, and I would pay special attention to that. For example, if you had been attempting to get PageRank via paid links on various templates, then when that PageRank stops flowing (e.g. if Google improves its detection in various ways), the fact that you have less PageRank can also mean that a site won't rank as well.

If that applies to you, my advice would be to pay special attention to that issue, in addition to the other good advice you've already gotten.

Matt tells him to go to those links and fix them by removing them and then submit a reconsideration request with Google. Matt even points him in the right direction of finding those links and hopefully addressing them.

Now, some may think that most or all minus whatever penalties are associated with bad links. Some might not. What do you think? Do you think most minus X penalties are associated with one's backlinks? Take our poll:

Forum discussion at Google Groups.

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Sebastien Billard

02/25/2008 02:16 pm

Has the website owner paid for links on templates that were designed and distributed by third parties ? Or has the website owner designed himself a theme with backlinks embedded and distributed it ?


02/25/2008 03:08 pm

OMG ... Those links are on some nasty pages e.g. "Amateur black teen sex freak is a closet lesbian " nasty!!!!

Matt Cutts

02/25/2008 04:24 pm

I weighed in on the thread not because of some "-60" theory, but because the original person was asking about potential dupe/pagejacking, and I wanted to point him in a direction to check into.

Barry Schwartz

02/25/2008 04:34 pm

Thank you Matt, so no comment otherwise? ;-)


04/02/2008 07:13 am

note that matt's first reply is about loosing positions because of links that are getting devalued that had value before and NOT about "penalties" he also didn't say we found paid links so you got a penalty

No Name

05/16/2008 07:34 pm

You know life was easier when all we had to worry about was bad linking neighbourhoods and link farms Now we have minus penalties as well. What started as a simple endevour is fast becoming rather complicated. Or are we just looking at things too closely

Mary McKnight

06/06/2008 01:43 am

I've seen evidence of this penalty in many sites for link buys especially around the beginning of the year. However, I also saw a site that was uploading a spammy text file with images receive what looked like a -60 penalty - but not sure. Anyone else seen "spammy" on-page tactics get results like that?


01/14/2009 08:47 pm

-60 penalty exist because of external broken links, or bad neighbourhoods


05/30/2010 03:49 pm

Great points you've posted here, thanks. Is completely true that yahoo is a great engine for checking your backlinks / InLinks (and a little more) as it seems more accurate than others when it comes to Inlinks...anyway I used to do the queries manualy untill i found this free tool: which also alows one to download the results in pdf file and also generates the free badge price for each and every queried websites.


01/11/2012 06:15 pm

I think I just got hit by a -60 penalty for some keywords on my site. I'll be looking at that Google thread to see if I can find a suitable solution. What would happen if I request reconsideration and they look at my whole site and think, wow, it's rubbish, let's ban it.

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